2019.12.11.

Read “Lurking, Twitter, The Commons, and Private Posts“.

Within this setting, since roughly late 2016, I’ve been posting almost all of what I read online or in books, magazines, or newspapers on my own website. These read posts include some context and are often simply composed of the title of the article, the author, the outlet, a summary/synopsis/or first paragraph or two to remind me what the piece was about, and occasionally a comment or two or ten I had on the piece.

2019.12.09.

2019.12.08.

Dave Winer made a video about how he blogs which is very unique. Basically he edits an OPML file that gets synced to scripting.com—it also looks like an outline. I like how quickly he can change anything on his blog.

2019.11.12.

Mesmerizing Translucent Waves from 19th Century Paintings

What separates Aivazovsky’s seascape paintings from others is his ability to replicate both the intensity and motion as well as the translucency and texture. His energetic waves and calm ripples are equally effective.

That glow! I have no idea how you can create an effect like that on a simple painting.

2019.11.06.

2019.07.02.

2019.05.24.

Smartphones Are Toys First, Tools Second

David from Raptitude:

If you time-traveled to the 1960s, or even the 1980s, and tried to describe smartphones to the people you met, they wouldn’t believe you.

It would simply seem too good to be true—an affordable, pocket-sized device that provides:

  • instant telegrams or phone calls, from anywhere to anywhere, usually free
  • maps of virtually every city or rural area, even showing current traffic conditions
  • searchable encyclopedias
  • up-to-the-minute news about anything in the world
  • step-by-step instructions for doing virtually anything
  • quick translations between dozens of languages
  • endless articles, courses, movies and TV shows
  • a camera that takes stills and video, and can transmit them to anyone instantly
  • the means for anyone to create their own regular column or newsletter, or audio or video broadcasts
  • the ability to adopt new functions at any time, usually for free

These are just a few basic smartphone functions, but to your new friends, they would all sound like life-changing superpowers. Their imaginations would run wild at how much easier such powers could make their lives.

They might assume that due to these devices alone, people of the 21st century will be achieving their most important goals at multiplied speed. It would be hard for them to believe that even one of those superpowers—the ability to find decent instructions for virtually any task, for example—wouldn’t make a person vastly more capable and fulfilled. Imagine what would they pay for those powers.

This is a very inspiring thought to guide my smartphone usage, but I don’t agree with the rest of the article. I’m reading stuff like this for years now, and we’re are always returning to the same solution: limit your smartphone usage which will solve your control problems. Also, it’s always the phone’s fault. You are the one who sets up stupid notifications and installs time-wasting apps, not the phone.

You can set up rules of what you’re going to install, but don’t blame the phone. It’s your fault if you can’t stop using social media or playing stupid games. Just remove them, don’t try to invent systems and blame it on the tool.

Also, I never understood people who just toss away their devices, then call themselves zen. You clearly have a problem of control. Throwing away a tool that can help you with so much is just ignoring a problem. It is true that a smartphone can feel like a superpower, but you know:

With great power comes great responsibility.

2019.05.13.

Using Zettelkasten and Tinderbox to Document a Literature Review

This is very similar approach to my workflow for solving problems with DEVONthink and MindNode:

  1. I like to take walks when I have to think about something. I capture rough ideas with Drafts by writing down bullet points on my iPhone.
  2. Later, when I sit down and process these notes, I try to edit and rephrase a draft into a full-blown zettel, which is added to DEVONthink.
  3. I keep these ideas in DEVONthink for a couple of days to let my subconscious mind make connections and may came up with better solutions. I always add multiple follow-up zettels linked to the original one.
  4. Since these zettels and all the related reference material kept in the same group in DEVONthink, I can use Shortcuts on iOS to create a mindmap from it. The generated mindmap links back to each original zettel, so this makes a visualized version of my notes. It helps me to use the mindmap to create a plan and may came up with concrete next actions, that’ll be moved into OmniFocus at the end.

2019.05.12.

MacMenuBar.com:

Small apps to help you become more productive and maximize your workflow with MacOS.

A great collection of menubar apps, although I haven’t found anything here that I need or don’t have already.

2019.03.03.

2018.12.21.

2018.12.06.

Eight months without Facebook

Cheri Baker:

I believe relationships take time. Conversations. Support. An investment in one another. And in that regard, getting off Facebook acted as a sorting mechanism. I found the answer to: Who will make time to hang out? For me that’s a small group, but a treasured one. And sure, it can feel lonely while you look for your people in the flesh-and-blood world. But it gets easier the more you invest in your relationships.

Text people. Set up a coffee date. Schedule a movie night, or a game day, or happy hour. Join a book club. Get your ass out there. I’ve gotten pretty introverted these last few years, so it takes effort, but in the end, it’s worth it.

I can relate to these ideas.

2018.11.30.

2018.11.28.

The Alternative to Thinking All the Time:

Wine tasting is nothing but a particularly specific and well-developed way in which human beings have learned to notice their present-moment experience. We can “taste” any present moment in the same way, as long as we make a point of noticing what it’s like. We can’t do it by accident though. When we’re preoccupied by worry and idle thinking, we don’t even recognize that we’re having an experience.

I like this wine tasting metaphor of meditation and experiencing the world.

Also:

When people ask me why I meditate, I often say something about reducing stress and improving mood, because those are the simplest benefits to relate. It does those things, but it might not be clear how. You can think of meditation as time set aside just for tasting the present moment, just for seeing what’s actually being offered, putting aside other projects like planning or analyzing.

[…]

It’s the 21st century, and mindfulness has entered the pop culture mainstream. Even science, as slow and careful as it is, is continually giving us reasons to investigate it for ourselves, yet the most common reason given for not bothering with it is “I don’t have time.”

Meanwhile, we lose years to aimless, ephemeral thinking. The primary experience of the adult human being continues to be rumination, with real life happening in the background.

I have a Headspace subscription but I’m not meditating habitually at the moment. And yes, my reason for not doing it is because “I don’t have time”.

My main problem with meditation is that I can’t get over the feeling of perfection. When I meditate, I always start thinking about thinking, which is perfectly normal, but it makes me really frustrated sometimes.

Maybe I should write an email to Andy Puddicombe. He usually answers them and have something smart to say about things like that.

2018.11.17.

2018.10.10.

How to Build a Low-tech Website?

Instead, we chose to apply an obsolete image compression technique called “dithering”. The number of colours in an image, combined with its file format and resolution, contributes to the size of an image. Thus, instead of using full-colour high-resolution images, we chose to convert all images to black and white, with four levels of grey in-between.

This is awesome. I really like the design and I just started to think, maybe I should build something similar for this blog.

2018.09.02.

Web Design Museum:

The museum exhibits over 900 carefully selected and sorted web sites that show web design trends between the years 1995 and 2005.

I’ve spent like an hour just clicking around. So many great examples of interesting ideas, annoying stuff, dead technologies (yes, Flash), and just memories. The web seemed so innocent back then.

2018.09.01.

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media

Go ahead, read the whole article, but first I have to highlight this trend which is especially interesting:

Whereas 66% of this demographic agreed with the statement “social media is important to me” in 2016, only 57% make this claim in 2018. As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere’s data.

I’ve seen this happening in my immediate environment as well in the last couple of years. Older people are getting on Facebook more and more, while younger ones are getting off. What’s more interesting is that older ones are started to behave a bit different: they’re seemingly more gossipy, as they’re following their friends’ everyday life more closely. Also, it’s sad to see how quickly some of them got hooked on stupid crap like fake news, politics, hoaxes and joined these type of groups.

I assume there is whole new world opened for some of them, but it seems like they have no idea about the negative privacy and mental implications of using social media (yet).

Meanwhile, I know people from the other side as well, those who refuse to use it. But their primary reason for skipping it is not valuing privacy, but time wasted mindless scrolling on Facebook.

2018.08.31.

2018.08.30.

2018.08.24.

Aqua Screenshot Library

This is a truly awesome resource and collection of history from Stephen Hackett. He went through all macOS (or Mac OS X, or OS X) releases and made a library of screenshots about the system.

From his introduction post:

These images came from the OS, running on actual hardware; I didn’t use virtual machines at any point. I ran up to 10.2 on an original Power Mac G4, while a Mirror Drive Doors G4 took care of 10.3, 10.4 and 10.5. I used a 2010 Mac mini for Snow Leopard and Lion, then a couple different 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros to round out the rest.

Check it out if you interested in Macs and UI design in general.

2018.08.20.

A Commonplace (book/blog):

Of course, the natural extension of this new notebook was to start sharing some extracts online, specifically on micro.blog. It reminded me of the charm of early blogging. When it wasn’t so serious, when you didn’t need a specific goal or career from it and mistakes were useful and a sign of growth. You didn’t (and don’t) have to present yourself as an expert in something you just started out in.

2018.08.19.

Good riddance, Twitter

Thomas Fuchs deleted his Twitter account after the latest API deprecation:

I’ve deleted my account. I will miss the friends I made, but I will not miss the abuse. There’s a line that was crossed recently with Alex Jones and with removing support for various API functions, a move designed to deliberately target power-users and early adopters who prefer 3rd-party clients over the Twitter apps and their force-fed crap.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Social media can be fun. With friendly people, and with no engagement pressure, and no algorithms force-feeding you content designed to make you feel bad.

Well, I’ll try this first instead of messing around with Mastodon.

2018.08.18.

The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow. The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity.

It’s weird, but I’ve just subscribed for Headspace to have a way to practice the routine of sitting in silence.

2018.08.16.

The Landowner and the Apartments

I'm still thinking about which apartment should I stay in or stop wasting my time and move away completely. I started making my own cabin in the woods which I use at the weekends. Too bad that I like some of my current neighbors.

2018.07.31.